INTO REGINA THE HALL of FAME- 2009
THE NEW SITE - JUST OUTSIDE PRAIRIE MOBILE RINK
Appropriately, the athletic career of Frank Kovacs is being permanently honoured inside a hockey complex.
The sprawling Co-operators Centre - part of Evraz Place - was hardly imaginable when Kovacs played minor and major-junior hockey in the Queen City. In fact, the arena in which he became the Regina Pats' all-time leader in games played had a different name when Kovacs toiled for the WHL team.
It is only a short walk from the Brandt Centre (formerly the Agridome) to the Prairie Mobile Arena, which is one of the Co-operators Centre's six rinks. Outside the Prairie Mobile Arena, Kovacs and the other Regina Sports Hall of Fame inductees are recognized. The new display was unveiled Thursday by Hall of Fame president Tom Shepherd.
Shortly before the formal announcement, Kovacs - part of the Hall's Class of 2009 - showed a plaque bearing his picture to his six-year-old son, Carter, who was suitably impressed.
"It's really a neat experience to be involved in the Hall of Fame and to be a part of it,'' said Kovacs, 39, who played in 352 regular-season games over five years with the Pats, for whom he served as captain in 1991-92. "It's a great honour and I'm glad they have this.
"I was thinking about this earlier and it's really about my son. Something like this gives young kids something to look up to. When I was growing up, the Regina Pats were my idols. Maybe kids will look at this and say, 'I want to be in the Hall of Fame some day,' and it will motivate them to do well in sports and in school. This is a really positive thing for the community.''
The Hall, which was established in 2003, had been showcased in the University of Regina's Centre for Kinesiology, Health and Sport before moving to a new location.
"As the university was growing, they needed more space for themselves,'' Shepherd said while thanking the U of R for its support over the years. "They certainly made us welcome, and we could have continued to stay there, but we were thinking long-term.
"We think it has turned out very well. We're very proud of it.''
The Hall has 48 members - 20 athletes, 17 builders, eight teams and three patrons. The shrine also includes 150 honourary inductees who have been enshrined in the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame. All 198 inductees are recognized on plaques in the Co-operators Centre.
"They did a very nice job,'' Kovacs said. "This is such an amazing facility. It's used by all of Regina. To have a whole wall dedicated to the Regina Sports Hall of Fame is great. People can walk right by it and see the people who have been recognized in Regina and what they've done for their sports.''
This year's induction dinner is to be held in October. The deadline for nominations is June 1. To access a nomination form, or for more information, visit the Hall's website.